ALTRINCHAM (0) 2 GRIMSBY TOWN (1) 2
played on Saturday, 25 September 2010, at 3pm
Altrincham earned a well-deserved point when Shaun Densmore headed home James Smith's cross from the right in the first added minute after the ninety. But it was referee Harrington who really decided the outcome when, in the first half, he failed to give a penalty when Densmore was clearly upended deep in the penalty area and then allowed a blatant foul on goalkeeper Coates to go undetected which gave Grimsby their first goal, by Bore, after 27 minutes. With Nicky Clee out injured, Alty also lost Michael Welch, to a knock after half an hour.
Following a superb save from Coates, Alty broke away from the resulting corner and McCarthy fed Denham who raced for goal, kept his head and scored a fine equalizer (54 mins). Against the run of second-half play, Connell - the pick of Grimsby's otherwise unspectactular team - curled in a fine goal to make it 2-1 after 77 minutes. With time almost up, came Densmore's header at the back post.
A small section of the visiting fans did not take kindly to the outcome and neither did their captain, Ridley, who refused his Away Man of the Match award in no uncertain terms, before relenting. Chris Denham won the Home Man of the Match champagne.
REFEREE: Mr T Harrington
ATTENDANCE: 1,364 (away end 428)
Nicky Clee was out injured so the Altrincham team was unchanged from Tuesday night, except on the bench where Crowell had recovered from injury to replace Holmes. Grimsby gave a debut to former Morecambe striker Danny Carlton, signed earlier this week. He replaced Lee Peacock, who has been ill but was on the bench. Midfielder Mark Hudson replaced Michael Leary.
This was the first meeting of these two sides, following Grimsby's relegation from League Two last season.
Alty groundmsan Neil Brown had mown the pitch for today's game to a tartan pattern to mark the presence of 32 Scotsmen in the Sponsors' Lounge, who were taking in the Altrincham v Grimsby game as part of their "stag" celebrations!
ALTRINCHAM (Red & white striped shirts, black shorts, red socks): 1. James COATES; 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 2. James SMITH, 22. Michael WELCH; 4. Marc JOSEPH, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 7. Robbie LAWTON (capt), 15. Ryan BROWN; 6. Shaun DENSMORE; 10. Chris DENHAM, 23. James McCARTHY. Subs: 1. Stuart COBURN, 20. Sam HEWSON, 12. Kevin HOLSGROVE, 8. Damian REEVES, 18. Matty CROWELL.
GRIMSBY TOWN (Pale blue): 38. Richard O'Donnell, 3. Lee Ridley, 5. Darren Kempson, 16. Steven Watt, 4. Mark Hudson, 8. Michael Cummins, 7. Lewis Gobern, 2. Peter Bore, 19. Bradley Wood, 17. Alan Connell, 18. Danny Carlton. Subs: 30. Steve Croudson, 6. Scott Garner, 29. Robert Eagle, 14. Michael Leary, 10. Lee Peacock
On a sunny afternoon, Altrincham kicked off towards the away end and, as on Tuesday night, had lost possession to an opposition goalkick in comfortably less than 10 seconds. A foul on McCarthy gave Altrincham an early freekick but Densmore’s effort went comfortably to keeper O'Donnell (2 mins). Carlton then headed a Ridley cross over the bar for Grimsby before some impressive skill from McCarthy got him past Kempson, the former FGR defender, but the ball was eventually cleared (7 mins).
McCarthy soon impressed again with a back-heel to Densmore as Alty went forward but ultimately Denham was seen off. A key moment arrived in the fourteenth minute when Densmore appeared third favourite against two retreating Grimsby defenders but the Alty midfielder did superbly to get to the ball and as he gained possession deep inside the Town box, he was brought down. Incredibly, Mr Harrington, the man who postponed the Alty v Eastbourne match an hour before kick off in 2008/9 season, waved play on to the amazement of the Alty bench.
Denham continued to look lively for Altrincham as play switched from end to end, whilst Connell, in the visitors' midfield, looked the pick of their team. Both sets of fans were lending good support, though the residents of apartments in The Chequers will not have enjoyed the two large drums brought by the visitors' supporters.
As play went into the second half of the first half it was fairly balanced. The second key moment of the half arrived in the 27th minute. Grimsby were awarded a freekick when James Smith fouled Bradley Wood. Alan Connell took the kick which was cleared by Robbie Williams. Goalkeeper Coates was very clearly fouled by Carlton as he went for the loose ball but, astonishingly, Mr Harrington allowed play to continue. The ball came out to Bore who lashed it into the unguarded net as Mr Harrington pointed to the centre-spot for the re-start. So two crucial decisions by the referee had gone against Altrincham (27 mins).
It got worse soon afterwards when Welch went down injured under a challenge as he had an effort at goal. Crowell, who had been preparing to come on for several minutes, now replaced the limping Welch (31 mins). As a consequence, Marc Joseph moved to the left of the Altrincham back line (32 mins).
The officials further endeared themselves to the home supporters when Mr Harrington stopped play with Danylyk in possession on the left inside the Grimsby half and he went over to his assistant, who appeared to be having a flag-handle malfunction. Their combined expertise rectified the situation so play resumed with a bounce-up from which Alty lost possession.
Next, Crowell was booked for a lunge on the Alty left, inside their own half (35 mins). An Alty corner soon followed. Play went through a fairly uneventful few minutes up to the interval. So, Alty ended the first half without a goal for the eleventh successive time this season before Mr Harrington left the pitch to a chorus of booing and a word in his ear from Alty caretaker-manager, Ken McKenna.
|Half-Time: ALTRINCHAM 0 GRIMSBY TOWN 1|
At the interval, Altrincham introduced Sam Hewson in place of Ryan Brown, the ex-Manchester united youngster settling in behind the front two as Shaun Densmore moved deeper in midfield, on the left. James Coates had to mae a good save after 48 miutes from a header by Hudson before a couple of menacing long throws from the right by Joseph were cleared by Grimsby. Next, Carlton's well-struck shot from the edge of the box forced a magnificent save by Coates, who tipped the ball away from his top right corner to give Grimsby a corner (53 mins).
From the corner McCarthy broke away up the middle and fed Denham to his right, thirty yards out. Denham hared towards goal, evaded a challenge expertly and finished superbly, firing a shot low across the keeper into his right hand corner to make it 1-1 (54 mins). Grimsby now clearly rocked as Alty went at them but they saw off two corners from McCarthy. Then when O'Donnell fumbled a catch under a challenge which was far less clear cut than the one on Coates when Grimsby scored their first goal, Mr Harrington gave the visitors a freekick (58 mins).
Grimsby then settled and from a corner, Watt's header landed on the roof of the net (61 mins). Kempson then had a dreadful time as twice in immediate succession he lost the ball in his own box but Denham, who gained possession, was driven far enough left of goal to be unable to capitalise fully.
Denham then caused Wood problems and the big defender scythed him down to concede a freekick. With the score still 1-1 the game was finely balanced as McCarthy gave way to Reeves (75 mins). At the same time Peacock replaced Gobern for the visitors.
Against the run of play, Grimsby's Connell got the wrong side of Crowell, 22 yards from goal in a central position. The midfielder then curled an excellent shot into Coates's left-hand corner to give Town the lead (77 mins). Play continued in end to end fashion until a fine shot from 25 yards by Wood forced a superb save from Coates, tipping the ball out of his right top-corner for a corner (84 mins). As the minutes ticked away it looked as if the visitors would go away with all of the points.
Two minutes of added time were announced. In the first of these Smith got forward to the right of goal and sent in a diagonal cross which Densmore, unmarked, at the back post, headed into the net to send the home fans into ecstasy. But Grimsby could have no complaints; they had benefitted from two very dubious refereeing decisions in the first half which denied Alty a penalty and gave Grimsby their first goal.
So, for the second time in a week, Altrincham had given their supporters good grounds for thinking that their present lowly position can be rectified after their poor start to the season.
Chris Denham was named Alty's Man of the Match whilst Lee Ridley was selected for Grimsby. After the game a small number of visiting fans did their club no credit as they left the ground.
|Full-Time: ALTRINCHAM 2 GRIMSBY TOWN 2|